Plan For Your Own Success

Feedback I frequently get from job seekers when I ask how their job search is going includes a myriad of answers. Very often the answers are negative.

Let's be honest. Finding a job isn't the easiest thing in the world to do, but it doesn't have to be the most difficult thing in the world either. It all depends upon how we look at the situation.

One nugget of advice I give to all job seekers when they begin their job search is the importance of having and maintaining a good attitude. Without a positive outlook, it is very difficult to be successful.

Read on to learn how I respond to negative responses when I ask about a person's job search.

There are no jobs out there.

There are jobs available, but it's important for the job seeker to assess him/herself to determine strengths, areas that match an individual's skills, and technical competence. It's also important to be aware of one's weaknesses and areas that need improvement in order to minimize the impact on your job search. Find a job that matches your strengths and background, keeping in mind that not all jobs are advertised! Network to find opportunities in the hidden job market.

The job market is ugly and nothing is available.

Actually the job market can be very exciting if one approaches it with the right attitude! All kinds of factors can make a difference in a job search, so it's vital for the job seeker to evaluate the parameters in h/her own customized job search. Is relocation out of the question? Are your skills up-to-date? Was your most recent salary higher than the market can bear in your location? Ask yourself the hard questions and then come up with solutions for each of them. Adaptability is a critical component of the job search.

No one wants to talk to me.

No one wants to talk to a downer, but people do enjoy talking to others that have a genuine interest in listening to them. Listening is an art that needs to be utilized frequently especially during a job search. Listening gives the job seeker an opportunity to learn about what's happening in the market or catch subtle clues on what piques the person's interest during a conversation. This is all good information you can use for your follow-up call or note.

I get rejection letters all the time.

Great! A rejection letter is just one more step to a job. If you're getting lots of rejection letters, then it means you're busy! And it means the companies were respectful enough to send you written correspondence, whether it is through mail or email. Even a rejection can be an opportunity to help you understand why you may not be the best fit for the position or why the company may not be the best fit for you.

I never hear back from anyone.

If you never hear back after applying for a job, then you are missing a key component of the job search. Follow the rules for applying, but take it one step further and find someone in the company who can verify receipt of your application or someone who can direct you to the hiring manager or department. Don't ever assume your resume got into the right hands.

I've been very busy getting projects completed around the house.

We all want to get projects completed around the house, but digging into projects during the middle of a job search might be a way for you to avoid the inevitable. Running away from reality doesn't fix anything. Plan your days. Devote a good amount of time to job searching, networking, and follow-up. Yet, don't forget to schedule the rest of your free time wisely as well! Whether house chores, exercise, or spending quality time with the family, planning is important to maintain balance.

I get interviews but no one hires me.

If you are getting interviews but not getting hired, there could be several reasons. This would be a good time to do a self-evaluation. Am I prepared for interviews? Am I presenting myself with confidence? Do I engage in the interview conversation by offering specific examples of achievements and accomplishments? Am I selling myself well and do I ask for the job? Am I sending a thank you to the interviewer(s)?

If you are doing all these things, then grab a good friend or trusted adviser who can give you some honest feedback. It could be you are lacking the skills needed for your job or it could be you are not connecting with your interviewer on an emotional level and not making yourself memorable. Whatever the case, it's time to regroup so you can move forward again with confidence.

When you find yourself unemployed and it wasn't your choice, develop a positive, forward-thinking attitude and remember who YOU are. You aren't just a job title. You are a capable person with numerous talents and skills. Package yourself well; know who you are, push negativity aside, and move forward with confidence. A good attitude and planning for success can make all the difference in the world!

Mary Jones
Director, Career Services
Management Resource Group, Ltd.